Every once in a while, in a great while, a bit of sanity shines through.
In a pair of wins for drivers in Chicago and Milwaukee, a federal court ruled that taxi owners have no right to block competitors and are not entitled to a bailout. This also marks the first time a federal appellate court has ruled in favor of ride-hailing.
The first case involved Uber and Lyft competing with taxi companies in Chicago, which have long benefited from a government-backed monopoly. As recently as 2013, a medallion to lease or own a Chicago taxi could fetch almost $360,000. But in 2016, a medallion sold for just over $66,000 on average. The slump in medallion transactions has been even starker: 14 medallions were sold last year, down from 91 sales in 2014 and 370 in 2013.
Those drops reflect plummeting demand: In 2016, the number of taxi rides had plunged by 3.3 million, a drop of 23% from the previous year. As one alderman put it, “Now you can’t give a medallion away.”
It should be noted that at the dawn of ride sharing in Chicago the taxi union threatened to “out” any gay aldermen who voted to allow Uber.